Rainbow Springs tourist attraction sale presentation package, 1954

Rainbow Springs tourist attraction sale presentation package, 1954


Dunnellon, Florida
The Keyes Co. 
Miami, Florida


Dunnellon, Florida
The Keyes Co. 
Miami, Florida


Dunnellon, Florida
Florida’s Most Rapidly
Growing Attraction


[Photograph of Rainbow Springs entrance.]


[Photograph of a waterfall.]


About 1935, Mr. Stephen McCready, well-known Realtor of Ocala, urged Mr. Kenneth S. Keyes, president of The Keyes Company – the largest real estate firm in the state – to come to Ocala and look over what McCready said was the finest opportunity in Florida to develop an unusual resort and tourist attraction; i. e., Rainbow Springs. At that time there were no buildings on the property, no boats except a rowboat or two – no development of any kind.  
Keyes was much impressed with the fascinating Springs, the crystalclear water, the amazing variety of fish and turtles and the lovely underwater gardens. He took a number of photographs and agreed with McCready that Rainbow Springs had very real possibilities for a development that would parallel the remarkable growth of Silver Springs. 
Keyes was intrigued with the idea of developing Rainbow Springs but finally decided that his rapidly growing real estate business in Miami required all of his time and attention and that it would be a mistake to divide his efforts. He reluctantly turned down the proposition. 
Soon after that, a Cleveland, Ohio, attorney formed a syndicate, erected an attractive rustic Lodge, with 4 two-room, two-bath log cottages on the hilltop overlooking the River, built the Gift Shop, constructed the Falls and had two glass-bottomed boats built for him. Subsequently, these boats were replaced with 2 and later 4 specially constructed boats where the passengers sit 5 feet below the surface of the water and view the underwater world through large plate glass portholes. These boats were leased under a rental contract. In ensuing years he erected the Bath House (now our Publicity Office), 4 attractive stone cottages, each containing 2 rooms, 2 porches and 2 baths on the main grounds, and four 2-room, 2-bath cottages and a Gift Shop at the 41 Highway entrance. 
This attorney had no experience in promotion and lacked the capital to do the necessary advertising job. He put money into buildings that were not absolutely necessary when the funds were badly needed for promotion. Keyes watched the operation and became more than ever convinced that with proper management and promotion it would be a very prosperous venture. From time to time he endeavored to make a deal with this attorney and his associates. 
After about 5 years of intermittent negotiations, Keyes finally succeeded in getting control of the operation in October, 1949, on a 25-year percentage lease. A corporation – Rainbow Springs Enterprises, Inc. – was organized to operate the property under this lease. 


PROGRESS 1950 to 1952
The waterfront income (not including Lodge, Restaurant or Gift Shop) in 1949 was approximately $30,000. The first calendar year under Keyes’ operation – 1950 –showed only a small improvement. It took time for the advertising and publicity program to get under way and to enable it to start showing results. But in 1951 they began to make substantial progress. Here are the figures:
1950 Waterfront Income . . . .  $36,605.
1951 Waterfront Income . . . .  51,908. up 41.8%
1952 Waterfront Income . . . .  72,775. up 40.2%
During these two years most of our efforts were directed toward building up the waterfront income. Little attention was given to the other departments. In spite of that fact these departments showed the following increases:
1950, 1952, % increase
Gift Shop
$14,876. $23,474. 57%
Lodge and Cottages
26,915. 27%
41,720. 34%


[Underwater photograph of turtles and fish.]


[Photograph of people looking at a view of Rainbow Springs.]


On December 31,1952, the main building (which housed the Lodge Office, Dining Room and Kitchen, Manager’s Suite and 2 storerooms) and the 3-room owner’s cottage burned to the ground as a result of a faulty gas-operated deep-fat fryer, and the lack of facilities and resultant publicity naturally curtailed the business during 1953.
The temporary dining room facilities which were set up -- first in a log cottage -- seating 12 people and later in a double stone cottage seating 32 people, kept the Lodge operating on a limited basis during the winter season months. A new Lodge building was completed about June 1st and new air conditioned waterfront Restaurant opened for business early in July. The facilities were woefully inadequate, therefore, during the first half of 1953. 
As a result of the fire, business in all departments was much less than it would otherwise have been in 1953. That the Lodge and Restaurant showed any gains at all was surprising. Here are the figures from the year:
1952 1953 % Increase
$72,775. $78,450. 8%
26,915. 30,911. 15%
41,581. 42,708. 3%
Anticipating a good tourist season, Lodge room rates were boosted substantially and these higher rates were advertised extensively in AAA Tour Guide and folders. This proved to be a mistake, for the winter tourist season turned out to be below normal and considerable business was lost because of the higher rates. Here are the Lodge and Restaurant sales for January and February, 1954:
1953 1954 % Inc.
1953 1954 % Inc.
$1,211. $1,312. 8%
$1,340. $3,032. 125%
2,131. 3,298. 55%
3,338. 4,521. 36%


On May 15, 1952, the Gift Shop was leased to C. W. Senter on a 5-year lease calling for a percentage rental of:
12-1/2% on the first $25,000. of sales
15% on the next 25,000.
17-1/2% above 50,000.
No rental is payable on cigars or cigarettes. 
During the first year of this lease the tenant paid us $4,140.25 on sales of $31,696.87.  
The sales figures for the second lease year to date are running ahead of last year. 
The Lodge, Cottages and Restaurant were leased to Tom Barrett effective September 1, 1953, for 5 years with a option to renew for an additional 5 years if the rental paid during the 4th and 5th years exceeds $15,000. per year at the following rentals:
-30% on first $20,000. of room sales
-35% of next 30,000. of room sales
-40% of room sales over $50,000.
-7-1/2% of first $50,000. of sales
10% of sales over $50,000.
Under this lease the Lessor is obligated to pay real estate taxes and insurance on the buildings and equipment and to reserve 5% of the rental paid for exterior repairs to be made when needed by the Lessee. Lessee is required to pay all other expenses. 
It is estimated that Lodge Room sales in the current lease year will be $35,000, producing a rental of $11,250. and that Restaurant sales will be $55,000. producing a rental of $4,250. –- a total of $15,500.


The property was badly run down when Keyes took over. In the last 4 years he and his associates have invested approximately $225,000. in the operation under this 25-year lease. Some of the major expenditures involved:
1. Purchase of 4 Scenic Submarine Boats
2. Purchase of Cruiser -- Rainbow Queen
3. Installing new gas equipment in Kitchen in 1951
4. Refurnishing and re-equipping dining room
5. Installing gas heaters in all cottages
6. Purchasing the 4 highway cottages and moving them to the grounds. 
7. Purchasing stone coffee shop across from US 41 main entrance
8. Installing new water pump, plumbing and septic tank system. 
9. Erecting approximately 75 highway signs
10. Building gate and dock ticket offices
11. Building workshop and additional linen and supply buildings
12. Extensive improvements to and refurnishing of lodge cottages
13. Extension of docks, catwalks, trails
14. Extensive landscaping of grounds
15. Building and equipping new air conditioned restaurant at waterfront
16. Building and equipping new main lodge building replacing building destroyed by fire
17. Spending approximately $125,000. for advertising and publicity in first 4-1/2 years. 


[Aerial photograph of Rainbow Springs.]


Shortly after Keyes acquired control of Rainbow Springs in the fall of 1949, a group of his clients became interested in purchasing office buildings in several of the larger cities in the United States and Canada. In the last few years he has made investments for them involving more than $20,000,000. and the responsibility for supervising the operation of these properties has fallen upon his shoulders. Because of this Keyes has found it increasingly difficult to give Rainbow Springs the attention it deserves.
Realizing that he could not long continue to carry both responsibilities, yet loath to relinquish his interest in Rainbow Springs into which he had put so much effort, Keyes interested one of his clients in purchasing the fee simple title to the property with the understanding that the 25-year lease to Rainbow Springs Enterprises, Inc., would be extended and its terms made even more attractive and with the further understanding that when and if Keyes gives up his interest in the operating company, he would have the option of acquiring an interest in the owning company, Rainbow Development Co. Following the fire, Rainbow Springs Enterprises, Inc., surrendered the Lodge, Cottages and Restaurant to Rainbow Development Co. and agreed that they would no longer be a part of its lease and in return Rainbow Development Co. granted Rainbow Springs Enterprises, Inc., three 25-year extensions and made certain other modifications in its lease that were favorable to Rainbow Springs Enterprises, Inc.
It is now proposed to sell the lease held by Rainbow Springs Enterprises, Inc., to a man or group of men that we feel will be able to do a good job in developing and promoting the waterfront attraction. To the right man or group we are willing to sell the lease for the amount we have actually invested in the leasehold to the date of transfer plus a very modest profit to compensate for the four years of energy and effort that we have put into the proposition.
Our original lease contained the following terms and conditions:
1. Period - 25 years starting October 15, 1949. No renewal privileges.
2. Rental - 25% of gross boat income.
- 10% of net profits from Lodge, Restaurant, Gift Shop or other operations.
3. Minimum guaranteed rental:
1st 3 years $10,000. year
Next 2 years 12,500. year
Next 20 years 15,000. year
4. Lessee to pay taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs.
5. Lessee to spend minimum of $12,000. per year for advertising.


The amended lease which Rainbow Springs Enterprises, Inc. is prepared to transfer to a qualified purchaser contains the following provisions:
1. Term of Lease - 21 years from October 15, 1953, with 3 25-year renewal options.
2. Rental for the Waterfront Operation -
20% of 1st $100,000 of waterfront income (gate and boats)
17 1/2% of next $100,000 of waterfront income
15% of next $100,000 of waterfront income
12% of next $100,000 of waterfront income
10% of waterfront income above $400,000
(The original lease called for 25% regardless of volume)
The rental from the operator of the Gift Shop accrues to the Lessee of the Waterfront Operation but Lessee is not obligated to pay any percentage rental on Gift Shop sales. Lessee to pay real estate taxes on land and buildings and to carry fire and windstorm insurance on buildings, docks, boats and adequate liablility insurance. 
3. Minimum guaranteed rental -
To 12/31/55 $15,000.
To 12/31/60 20,000. 
To 12/31/65 25,000.
Balance of Lease 30,000.
4. Lease provides for 3 25-year renewals at the option of lessee on same terms except that minimum guarantee for renewal periods shall be:
1st 25-year renewal $35,000.
2nd 25-year renewal 40,000.
3rd 25-year renewal 45,000.
5. Lease provides that Lessee will agree to spend a minimum of $42,000. a year for advertising and promotion during first 5 years and thereafter a minimum of 20% of the gross waterfront income.
If the lessee elects to spend not less than $60,000. annually for advertising and promotion during first 3 years, lessor will contribute 2/3 of any excess percentage rental due lessor over and above minimum guarantee during this 3-year period. 


To a person or group with the promotional experience and ability needed to make Rainbow Springs the success it is destined to be and that has the financial ability to continue or to expand the aggressive program of advertising and publicity that has been started --
1. We will sell the stock and notes of Rainbow Springs Enterprises, Inc. which owns the 21-year leasehold on the boat operation and gift shop with its 3 25-year renewal options and holds title to the 4 Scenic Submarine Boats, the cruiser Rainbow River Queen, a 1953 Ford Station Wagon, a Chevrolet truck and other furniture and equipment used in the waterfront operation -- for $240,000 on terms of $140,000 cash and the balance in 10 equal annual payments with interest at 5%.
2. If the purchaser of the waterfront lease prefers to control the entire operation, Rainbow Development Co. will lease the Lodge, Cottages and Restaurant and their equipment to the purchaser of the above stock and notes on a 21-year lease with 3 25-year renewal options at the following net rentals:
To 12/31/55 $7,500.
To 12/31/60 9,000.
To 12/31/65 10,500.
Balance of lease 12,000.
Optional periods 15,000.
This lease would be subject to the existing 5-year lease with 5-year option to Tom Barrett. The optional period of this lease can be cancelled upon payment of $5,000. 
Under this lease the Lessee would deposit the last year’s rent ($12,000) as a security payment and would pay the current rent quarterly in advance. 
The Lessee is to pay real estate taxes and insurance on the land and buildings included in the Lodge and Restaurant lease. 


[Graph of waterfront income from 1950 to 1956.]
Rainbow Springs 
Waterfront Income
Quarterly Running Average
1. Fire destroyed main lodge and dining room Dec 31, 1952 and seriously curtailed 1953 income.
2. We were without a promotion manager during all of 1953. 


Gate Admissions - net
Submarine Boat Ticket Sales
River Cruise Ticket Sales
Miscellaneous Waterfront Income
Gift Shop Percentage Rental
Waterfront Salaries (Schedule 1)
Payroll Taxes
Electric Power
Repairs and Maintenance
Telephone and Telegraph
Fish Food
Gas and Oil
Fire and Windstorm Insurance
Liability Insurance
Real Estate Taxes
Legal and Audit
Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance:
Salaries (Schedule 1) $9,920.
Plants and Materials 1,800.
Miscellaneous 280.
Lease rental 20,510.
ESTIMATED LOSS (after spending $42,000. for Advertising and promotion)


Schedule I
Waterfront Operation
Waterfront Manager @ $350. month
Dock Superintendent and Boatman @ $53. wk.
Dock Maintenance Foreman & Boatman @ 53. wk.
Three (3) Boatmen @ $48. wk.
One (1) Boatman @$48. wk - one-half time
Two (2) Ticket Sellers @ $180. month
Bookkeeper and Relief Ticket Seller @ $180. mo
Life Guard - 4 months @ $150.
Gardener @ $220. month
Three (3) Yard Men @ $40. week
One (1) Yard Man @ $40. week - one-half time


Anyone who will spend a few hours at the boat docks talking with customers as they return from our Scenic Submarine Boat Trip will be impressed with the fact that most customers feel that our submarine trip is far more interesting and entertaining than the glass-bottomed boat trip at Silver Springs. 
There are three reasons for this:
1. One can see so much more looking out through large plate glass portholes in the sides of our Submarine Boats than they can see looking down through the floor of a glass-bottom boat. 
2. There are many more fish and turtles and many more species in Rainbow River. 
3. There is nothing in the Oklawaha River (Silver Springs) to compare with the underwater fern gardens in Rainbow River. 
Starting with 2 boats on July 3, 1924, Silver Springs has built up its glass-bottomed fleet to 25 boats and its income from the glass-bottomed boats alone from a few thousand dollars in 1924 to $1,120,118. in 1952. The story of this amazing venture is told in considerable detail in the article from Suntime Magazine (June 27, 1953) photostatted and inserted at the end of this brochure. 
On the following page we have charted the average quarterly waterfront income for the years that Rainbow Springs has been under Keyes operation. It will be noted that even the fire slowed up but did not halt the steady upward climb. 
We feel that there is every reason to believe that the waterfront income at Rainbow Springs (estimated at $103,000. for 1954) will reach the following figures:
1957 $150,000.
1960 250,000.
1965 500,000.
It should also be noted that our boats today are running at approximately 50% of their capacity. In other words, without materially increasing our present staff we could practically double our present volume of business. And at least 2/3 of the increased income would be clear profit unless the Lessee elected to spend it for additional advertising and publicity to bring still more business.


[R]eprinted from SUNTIME, June 27, 1953
[Photograph of a woman underwater at Silver Springs.]
Two Young Men Gazed into the Crystal Pool.
They Dreamed, Worked Hard.  And Now --
By Harris Powers
Silver Springs, Florida is a world-famous attraction located in the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 6, Township 15, Range 23 East. 
From a vast cavern through porous limerock emerges a great underground river which forms the main spring, or "boil." From this and countless other springs nearby flow as much as 800,000,000 million gallons of cool, clear water per day - enough for a city the size of Chicago. 
Through the decades, from President U.S. Grant to President Calvin Coolidge to Movie Stars Spencer Tracy and Gregory Peck, millions of people have come from far and near to visit "nature’s underwater fairyland."
Water from the springs forms the Silver River which flows seven miles through primeval jungles, twisting and turning, to meet the snake-like Ocklawaha River, which slides darkly through more jungle to the St. Johns River, and thence to the Atlantic Ocean.
So much for statistics and a quick summary. But the Silver Springs Story is more than statistics. It is a story of people.  
It is the story of Buck and Bill and
[Photograph of a waterboat at the springs.]


Pete. It is the story of Ross, of Captain Jack, of Willie and Robert, of Bruce and Diz and dozens of other people.
But most of all, since July 3, 1924 Silver Springs is the story of Carl and Shorty. 
For on that date the springshead was leased by W.C. (Carl) Ray and W.M (Shorty) Davidson. It was a history-making event which was to begin a glowing chapter in the history of Florida’s tourist business. It was to provide a magnificent example of private enterprise meshed with public interest. It was a chapter to be marked by severe competition, by a determined - and successful - struggle to keep improving despite the collapse of the Florida Boom, the crash on Wall Street, the engulfing Depression, gasoline rationing in World War II. 
That lease in 1924 was for fifty years, the lessees agreeing to pay the owner, C. (Ed) Carmichael, $5,000 a year for the first five years, $6,000 each for the next five years, then graduated on up to a ceiling of $10,000 a year. 
In that year, Silver Springs attracted less than 10,000 visitors. Three glass-bottomed row boats were in operation. 
Poets had already sung of the translucent waters, the rainbow colors. Princes, presidents and industrial giants had visited there. But in the 19th century, Silver Springs had been more of a commercial center than a beauty spot. 
The early history of the area is shrouded in legend. Indians lived nearby, swam in the cool, clear water, hunted game in the vast tropical wilderness. 
Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer seeking the fountain of youth, and his men visited here in 1539. 
During the Seminole Wars in the 1830’s, there were skirmishes not far from Silver Springs, and Americans
[Five photographs described below in the caption.]
Early Twentieth Century scenes at Silver Springs. Top, glass bottom boats were propelled by oars until 1926. Next, gay swimmers in the Twenties, long before Bikini bathing suit days. Next, one of first gasoline-powered glass bottom boats, carrying Mr. and Mrs W.C. Ray and children. Second from bottom, New York Giants in days of John McGraw trained at Gainesville, came to see Silver Springs. Bottom, during World War II, more than 200,000 service personnel visited Silver Springs, paid half fare.


established Fort King four miles to the southwest. 
Down the Ocklawaha River at Payne’s Landing, a treaty was signed with the Seminole chief, Osceola. 
In 1845, when Florida became a state, one James Rogers purchased from the United States government an 80-acre tract surrounding Silver Springs. The price, including the land above and below the water, was $1,25 an acre. The transaction was completed February 24, 1845, before Florida became a state.
As settlers - many of them South Carolina planters - moved in to Marion County before the Civil War, commerce developed on the Ocklawaha River and at Silver springs. Boats from Jacksonville and Palatka brought supplies and building material to the planters. 
During the Civil War, there was a Confederate encampment about four miles east of Silver Springs. Northern forces came close to Palatka, and reached east of the St. Johns River. They made forays in the direction of Silver Springs, but never reached it. 
In May 1964, a Confederate soldier wrote to his wife:
“We are stationed in the fork of Silver and Ocklawaha, about two miles from the junction, and it is certainly the prettiest country I ever saw. In coming to the place we passed by and stopped for some time at Silver Springs... 
“The river comes out from the spring in a clear, transparent stream or volume of water large enough for a medium sized steamer to go up without the slightest difficulty. The wharf or landing for the boat is in 15 paces of the mouth of the spring and the water seems to come out through long breaks or fissures in the solid rock. Through these cracks or fissures pearly radiance streams as brilliant and much more dazzling than firelight through the cracks of a house on a dark night. The bottom of the spring, except where these fissures are seen, is thickly carpeted with a perfectly green grass that grows beneath the water and seems to be nourished alone by the rays of the sun that penetrate through the water.”
Noting that the spring was surrounded with magnolia, bay and other beautiful evergreens, he adds, “One mile below the spring, the orange groves commence and nothing in reality or imagination ever surpassed or even rivalled their magnificence and beauty to the eye of one who has never seen them before.”
Nearby was a large sugar plantation, and there was at Silver Springs a depot for sugar syrup which was sent down the river on a steamer to the railroad and thence across to Waldo. Potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables were plentiful.
End of the Civil War brought ruin to many a Marion county planter, and traffic through Silver Springs was slowed down. 
In the late 1860’s, the property was acquired by Capt. Samuel O. Howse.  In the Seventies, more boats again plied the river, and in the Eighties Silver Springs began to get more nation-wide attention. 
In 1976 Harpers Magazine printed a lengthy article about a romantic boat trip to the Springs. So renowned was the beauty spot that on January 10, 1880, President-Elect U. S Grant, accompanied by General Philip Sheridan, made a boat trip up from Palatka.
They were met at Harrison’s Landing by a party of Ocalans, and formally greeted by the mayor of Ocala. General Grant was entertained that night at Harris’ Hotel in Ocala (the bill for the dinner costing the city $10). 
By the Eighties, Colonel Hubbard L. Hart of Palatka operated regular steamboat service to Silver Springs. The Hart Line steamers (such as the Hiawatha) were double-decked, 80-foot stern-wheelers. At night the way was lighted by pitch-pine fires in braziers on the top of the boat. Spectators described the spectacle as eerie and gorgeous. Overhanging trees grew red, pools glimmered. Birds cried from their nests and flew near the fires. 
Then came a railroad from Ocala to Silver Springs - the Florida Central and Peninsular in 1888. Even before this, a 200-room hotel was built at the Springs by T. Brigham Bishop of New York City. This eventually became a spur of the Seaboard Air Line and for years through trains would back up three miles from Silver Springs Junction. 
A combination depot and dock was built. Cargo was brought by boat and transferred to the train. Passengers also transferred here. 
In 1894-95 came disaster. The Big Freeze ruined the orange groves in the area. And soon after, Brigham’s hotel was burned down. Capt. Howse’s residence was also destroyed by fire. 
Another hotel was built, however.
[Photograph of the depot.]
[Photograph overlooking the springs.]


(Sunshine staff photo by Charles Waterman)
The property at the head of the springs was acquired by H. L. Anderson, Ocala attorney, in 1898. He also operated the railroad, called the Silver Springs and Western, and later sold to the Seaboard.
For years, visitors were taken over the beautiful sights in flat rowboats. The first regular operator of this service was Oliver B. Howse, son of Capt. Howse, who started this as a boy in the 1880’s. He made good money for a boy -- $15 or $20 a day, operating the boat and a bathhouse.  
In 1903 came something of a revolution at the Springs. Invention of the glass bottom boat is credited to young Philip Morrell, who lived at the hotel, which was called the Brown House. From the Seaboard dock, he took visitors in his glass bottom boat. Anderson sued the Seaboard for permitting the dock to be used for this purpose. There were to be other suits ahead involving rights in and around the Springs. 
That year, the Ocklawaha Valley Railroad extended a railroad from Silver Springs to Palaka. The engines were woodburners and made frequent stops re-fuel.  
In 1909, C. (Ed) Carmichael, an enterprising Ocala businessman, purchased the 80 acres surrounding the Springs from H. L. Anderson for less than $3,000.  
He began a program of development, improving the glass bottom boats. The two-story wooden hotel, having become antiquated, was torn down in 1920. 
By now, the age of the automobile was arriving.  In 1916, a limerock road, dusty but smooth, was built from Ocala.  It re-placed a bicycle path.  More and more sight-seers came. 
In 1916, there was more nationwide publicity, when Marguerite Clark, one of the first lovely ladies of the silent screen, came to make a movie, “The Seven Swans.”
Proprietor Carmichael built a new and larger pavilion, where dances and meetings were held. A new generation of Ocalans learned to swim at Silver Springs, where husky Newton Perry became the life-guard –and was to become an outstanding swimmer and diver.  
In 1923, Marion county, like the rest of Florida, became good roads conscious.  The county bonded itself for $5,000,000. 
Up to that time, Silver Springs was a spur on the railroad, and a spur on the highway.  The min “highway” to the east went several miles south of Silver Springs crossing the Ocklawaha River at Sharpes Ferry.  The new highway program, executed by John E. Walker, put a four laned asphalt road running due east, and passing just to the north of Silver Springs. 
About this time, two enterprising young men, with eyes to the future, and envisioning the potentially enormous number of visitors that might be attracted, separately tried to develop plans to acquire the world-famed beauty spot. 
W. C. Ray, who was born in Lowndes County, Ga., August 27, 1893, had grown up in Marion county, where his father, Walter Ray, had large timber interests.  He had visited Silver Springs since boyhood, and long had the idea of operating it for he thought if the world knew about it, the world would come there.  He was tall and reticent. 
Where W. C. Ray was tall and reticent, W. M. (Shorty) Davidson was short (everyone called him “Shorty”, and continued to do so), portly (about 258 pounds), ebullient and a natural publicity-getter.  He had been born in Waresboro, Ware County, Georgia, in the Okefenokee Swamp.
His father was a farmer, who moved to Florida – first to Watertown, then Fort White, then Lexington, finally High Springs. 
Shorty Davidson had little formal schooling, went into business (a general store at High Springs) for himself when he was 17, then started a restaurant in 1913.  He surmounted insurmountable obstacles (including a financial panic), moved to Ocala in 1918 to open a restaurant on the railroad, visited Silver Springs—and he, too, wanted to acquire it. 
He had served meals to and cashed checks for Walter Ray.  He had been hunting and fishing with Carl Ray. 
The two young men, different in build and manner, but both astute, hard-workers, with a single idea – met at Silver Springs one day by chance.  The conversation as Shorty Davidson recalls it, went something like this:
Ray: What are you doing out here?
Davidson: I’m figuring out how to get this place. 
Ray: I’m out to loan them some money.
Davidson: Let’s make a deal. 
They made a proposition to Columbus Carmichael, who was one of the most potent men in Marion County and had other interests.  With Walter Ray providing some of the financing, the deal was put through.  
When Ray and Davidson took over, they got three glass-bottom rowboats, and staying as operators were the veteran Captain Madden and four Negro boat operators – Tom Tuckison, Willis Morris, William Crowell and Robert Crowell. 
They both agreed that there should be high moral standards – no whiskey, no beer, no juke-type operations.  They negotiated a loan and put up new buildings.  They urged that the new highway, just being started, be four-laned, and put up money to pay for one-third of the cost for 10 miles. 
By that time, the great Florida Boom was swinging in high.  The Yankees were looking towards Florida, and the Fountain of Wealth.  A group from New York – including C. K. Fankhouser and Col. Ed Johnson – formed a syndicate and made a proposition.  The Silver Springs Corporation sub-leased the property for $50,000 a year – newspapers hailed it as a $2,000,000 deal. 
A great renovation came to Silver Springs, where for the first time glass bottom boats were powered by gasoline motors.  The corporation built headquarters just north of the Springs.  They built the Silver Grill, which was to become a high-class dinner-dance spot. 
Shorty Davidson went off to his orange groves at Citra.  Carl Ray went off to his timber interests. 
Those were dizzy days, Florida Boom days, but the plans of the new corporation did not work out.  The Boom went bust, and on January 1, 1928, Ray and Davidson were again the operators. 
For the next several years, the problem was to attract more visitors, when fewer people were coming to Florida.  The problem also was to outsmart competition which might well have become ruinous. 
At first, Hartman’s South Beach property was acquired. 
Then M. R. Porter began operating boats from Paradise Park, half mile below the


head of the springs.  A series of suits was started, involving roads and the right to navigate at the head of the springs. 
There was much maneuvering in and out of the courts.  A cut-off road was built from the main highway to Paradise Park.  Where-upon Shorty Davidson (his partner was in the hospital at the time) built a cut-off to the cut-off. 
Meanwhile, Ray & Davidson, looking ahead, had acquired more and more property to the south, east and north. 
When the first Paradise cut-off was closed by the county, a new one was built.  After that was in use for a while, it was discovered that it, too, crossed Ray & Davidson property.  So it, too, was closed. 
Meanwhile, the navigation suit – which was making history – was decided in favor of Ray & Davidson by Federal District Judge alexander Akerman.  He ruled that the rights of navigation did not extend to the head of the springs.  But this was carried to the U. S. Supreme Court, where the ruling was reversed. 
But the battle was long and exhausting, and in 1932 M. R. Porter sold Paradise Park to Ray & Davidson. 
While staunchly defending their interests in courts and commissions, Ray & Davidson made stronger and stronger bids for the more visitors.  They were nice to the people of Ocala.  They were nice to the people of Gainesville.  They were nice to the people from all around, they staged barbecues.  Fish fries. Beauty contests.  They did everything they could think of to attract attention, and frequently entertained the gentlemen of the press. 
At these parties, Shorty was ever his jovial self.  He helped prepare the hush puppies and the fish.  While Carl Ray stood in the background, Shorty made short, regular folks talks. The editors loved it. Shorty was good copy. 
To spread the name of Silver Springs, he and Charles Thomas made trips up the country to hammer “See Silver Springs” arrows on trees – as far north as Virginia. Most states outlawed this type of highway signs, so Silver Springs began putting up billboards.  And they tied in with the safety theme – “Drive Safely and See Silver Springs.”
One day in 1928, Shorty Davidson was driving from Fort Myers to Tampa.  As southbound cars passed hi, he began to wonder, “Have they seen Silver Springs?”
Thus, the auto bumper strip idea was born.  And Silver Springs workers began typing “See Silver Springs” on the bumpers of every car that drove up.  It was inexpensive – and enormously effective. 
Another important event had happened at Silver Springs on November 20, 1929, though probably no one realized at the time just how important it would be.  On that date, a stocky young fellow named Ross Allen drove up from Winter Haven.  He was fresh out of Stetson University.  He loved snakes, and he wanted a chance to show off.  He had $5 in his pocket. 
Before he started exhibiting, he had a taxidermy shop.  He sold a few alligators and snakes to get some operating capital. 
Ray & Davidson set aside a small space for him, and he began performing for the fascinated visitors, who were few at first.
Then, awed, they came in greater and greater numbers.  Ross Allen started with a handful of snakes and alligators.  He began to acquire more and more of them.  He milked the snakes.  Robert Ripley came along and told the world about him.  So Ross Allen milked his way to fame along with Silver Springs.  Snakes bit him—in the next twenty years he was bitten ten times, but he was never deterred. 
The same year that Ross Allen arrived there was another significant event.  A two-reel movie entitled “Crystal Champions” was made, featuring Johnny Weissmuller, world’s champion swimmer, Pete desJardins, (of Jacksonville) Helen Meany and Martha Norelius. 
The movie was a hit, and movie-makers started flocking to Silver Springs.  Weissmuller returned three times to make “Tarzan” movies.  Other movie-makers came. 
By 1932, more thousands of people were coming to the Springs (there were about 150,000 visitors that year).  Glass bottom boats were electrically driven for the first time – and by then, six of them were in operation. 
Another blow came with the national banking holiday in March, 1933.  But Silver Springs accepted checks (“we lost $4 on that, “says Shorty Davidson). Change was given on travelers’ checks.
The depression hit bottom in 1933 and 1934.  But Ray & Davidson kept on sending out signs and bumper strips, kept making friends, kept entertaining the press and the movies and the radio people. 
Ray and Davidson also established a policy of helping other attractions—something which was almost unheard of.  Years later, Dick Pope, operator of Cypress Gardens, paid high tribute to Ray & Davidson for their assistance in the early Thirties.  For struggling attractions, he said, the situation was “horrible,” it was “chaos.” But Ray & Davidson told people about Cypress Gardens and other attractions.  What’s good for one is good for all, they reasoned. 
In 1935, about 200,000 people visited the Springs, including such notables as Hugh Johnson, celebrated head of NRA; roger Babson, famed economist; Governor Alf Landon of Kansas.  Silver Springs was vieing with Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon for attention. 
In 1938, Ray & Davidson acquired a new publicity director named Peter Schaal.  He was tall, dark-haired, and knew what was wanted—more visitors.  So he sent out stories, pictures, souvenirs.  Before long, he was deluged with proposals, and had to follow just the right course for best results at least cost. 
Came World War II, and the attractions of Florida, having come through the depression to better days, faced a new crisis.  With gasoline rationing, many of them closed.  
Not Ray & Davidson.  They figured out the answers, as they had before when other crises arrived. 
During the first three months of gasoline rationing, they lost money steadily.  Federal agents stopped people driving to the Springs to find out how they happened to have gas for such a trip. 
Then came another idea. 
Shorty Davidson, ross Allen, Bob Cobb the Cowboy, the Seminole Indians who came to the Springs each winter went up to Camp Blanding.  They put on shows for the soldiers.  And commanding officers began to send truckloads of soldiers down to Silver Springs.  
They found it good Policy, for no whiskey was sold, and the troops returned to camp in fine form.  On one wartime holiday, the larger part of 18,000 troops swarmed around Silver Springs.  During the war, Silver Springs entertained about 200,000 military men (who were sent on boat rides for half price). 
In 1945 Gregory Peck made a movie, “the Yearling,” based on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings famous story. 
End of the war brought an unparalleled number of visitors to Silver Springs.  Where as once a good year had been to attract about 100,000 people, by 1949 the number had reached 800,000.  By 1953 it was topping the million mark. 
Beginning in 1946 more and more shops were installed at the Springs.  On the nearby highway, luxurious tourist courts and restaurants were built. 
On more and more billboards went eye-catching Silver Springs signs.  In 1952, a remarkable help-the-other-fellow campaign began which brought new awards to Ray & Davidson.  On each billboard Silver Springs recommended another attraction, which got half the space. 
In the advertising world, it created a sensation. 
And the Silver Springs family, which numbered w. C. Ray, W. M. Davidson and ten associates in 1924, now numbered about 150 people. 
The partners of old were beginning to take things easier, to let a new generation step in. 
The two sons of W. C. Ray were taking an active part, W. C Ray, Jr., --known as Buck—serving as assistant general manager; Bill Blue Ray handling public relations under Peter Schaal. 
Looking back over the 29 years, W. C. Ray said: “The success of Silver Springs is due largely to plenty of hard work, operating a morally clean place, showing our visitors all possible courtesies and a well-thought-out and managed advertising campaign.”
Looking forward, W. M. Davidson (by now a colonel on the staff of two governors, and much reduced in weight) said: 
“Florida is the greatest state in the Union.  God has given us everything.  We have the greatest shoreline.  We have great fishing. Hunting is good.  Our sunshine is the greatest blessing.  We have green grass and gardens in the winter.  We are a haven for the world.  Anybody investing in Florida property can not help but profit from it.  Silver Springs is a baby in the cradle.  Some day glass bottom boats will be out, and there will be, instead, glass walkways. Florida will attract more and more people who get pensions.  Florida’s future is just beginning.  And Silver Springs will have its share of that future.”


Amazing underwater wonderland
4 miles north of Dunnellon, Florida
On U.S. 41


No other trip like this . . . in all the world Thrill to underwater world wonders—through glass portholes of our scenic Submarine Boats! On the world’s most unusual boat trip—two miles long—you can see through your individual plat-glass porthole (5 ft. below the surface!) 50 species of fish and turtles, including giant prehistoric leopard gar, ghostly blue shad, 20 lb. largemouth bass. Millions of flashing rainbows and 37 varieties of rare underwater plants—fox tail fern, mermaid’s hair, water shamrock among others. Never have you visioned such an amazing marine panorama! See the countless subterranean Springs, gushing forth from the white sand bottom, supplying daily enough water to care for entire cities like Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles.


A Setting beyond compare . . . in all Florida
To some, it is a haven of rest—with towering live oaks, moss-covered magnolias, exotic gardenias, azaleas, red bud, dogwood and innumerable tropical shrubs and flowers.  An unspoiled paradise. . . To others, Rainbow Springs is a succession of new delights and experiences.  The underwater wonderland, fabulous bayou trails to explore, the photographers Mecca, the botanist’s Utopia, the fisherman’s seventh heaven. . . TO EVERYONE, Rainbow Springs is an ideal vacation resort, with a delightful year ‘round climate. . .  for your most interesting day in Florida, or for a week or more of complete relaxation, in a setting beyond compare, plan to visit Rainbow Springs.
A Genuine Welcome awaits you at Rainbow Springs
Rainbow Springs has none of the glamor or glitter so frequently associated with some parts of florida.  Here one finds natural beauty combined with genuine hospitality and comfort.  Here, too, is an appreciation of fine food, tastefully prepared and served—food that draws commendation from Duncan Hines.  Rustic log and native stone cottages with all modern conveniences available for overnight, weekly or longer stays.  Cottage guests enjoy grounds privileges: swimming, shuffleboard, etc. Since accommodations are limited and invariable in demand, it is suggested you write or phone for reservation.  Rainbow Springs Lodge Dunnellon, Flroida Phone 134J
Caption :[the water for Rainbow River is crystal-clear, always 74 degrees—ideal for swimming.] 
[plan a family outing at Rainbow Springs—every member of the family will find something of  absorbing interest. ]
[The outflow of gem-like Mirror Pool forms lovely Rainbow Falls—a man-made marvel of rare beauty.
[your camera is a “must”—for exciting underwater shots and for scenic views you will want to retain—forever! And down the River—fishing grounds so alluring that they’ve been featured in many a news-reel movie!]
What Visitors Say:
“Ponce de Leon’s rainbow should have ended here—nothing to equal it anywhere in America.”-C. M. Bernhardt, Washington, D.C.
“God’s revelation of Himself in Nature.” – Walter Raleigh Harris, Akron, O. 
“The most beautiful spot I have ever seen.  The boat trip is marvelous.” – Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Bland, Lima, O. 
“It is a delightful diversion – something entirely different.  Also most educational for young and old.” – Mr. and Mrs. John Milton, Farmingdale, N. Y.
“Unique and spectacular! Most revealing! Whoever thought the fishes lived in such a beautiful world?” – Lewis Forsythe, Ann Arbor, Mich.
“I have seen such attractions at the Wisconsin Dells, the Black hills and many others, but Rainbow Springs was surpassed by none in beauty.”- Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Kleman, Chicago, Ill.
“In the sub-boat you would never guess you were underwater-just out of this world!” – Mr. and Mrs. L. Murasco, Detroit, Mich.
“ The underwater boat ride was a most unusual trip.  This, alone, is worth the whole trip to Florida.” – Miss Ruby E. Morris, Plainfield, Ind. 
“We are Canadians- this is so like Northern Canadian lodges, we are right at home.  Love the peace and quiet, as well as lovely scenery.  Dining room and food are wonderful.” – Mr. and Mrs. D. C. Minor, Miami, Fla.


Rainbow Springs
Amazing underwater wonderland
How to get to Rainbow Springs
Easily reached by car, bus or Eastern Airlines Transportation availbalbe form Ocala Airport, r. r. station. Just 4 miles north of Dunnellon, on U. S. 41. 
While in Florida, visit these other Famous Attractions
Thomas A Edison Home
Everglades Wonder Gardens
Florida Cypress Gardens
Lightner Museum of Hobbies
Marine Studios
McKee Jungle Gardens
Miami Serpentarium
Monkey Jungle
Musa Isle Indian Village
Nature’s Giant Fishbowl
Nikko-Gray Sightseeing Boats
The Oldest House
Oriental Gardens
Parrot Jungle
Ringling Museums
Ross Allen’s Reptile Institute
Sarasota Jungle Gardens
Silver Springs
St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg
Weekiwachee Springs
Florida Attractions Association


What visitors say about lovely Rainbow Springs
“A ‘once in a lifetime’ spot to put in your memory book.” Mrs. W. A. Trotter, Washington, D. C.
“Have never seen anything comparable to its beauty in North America.” Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Dodds Big Stone City, S. D.
“Beautiful beyond description—time and money well spent—by far the prettiest underwater trip I have had the pleasure of seeing.” Pearl E. Austin Baltimore, Md.
“Beauty which seems to belong outside this world.” Mr and Mrs. E. G. Van Nortwick Canton, Ill.
‘Best I’ve seen in all my travels.” Countess Margarethe Wight Berlin, Germany
“unbelievably beautiful—took moving pictures so we can relive and remember Rainbow Springs.” Mr. and Mrs. Curtis W Peck Kenosha, Wisconsin
“It’s truly a masterpiece—a wonderful sightseeing trip.” Mr. and Mrs. Henderson Whitaker Richmond, Kentucky
“Most beautiful natural and relaxing place in Florida. Glad we didn’t leave the state without seeing Rainbow Springs.” Charles W. Deming, Kanses City, Mo.
“We think the boat ride is wonderful! A beautiful sight-best we have seen and really worth the cost.”  Mr. and Mrs. Albert Huron Maysville, Kentucky


One of our fleet of scenic submarine boats where you sit in comfort below the surface of the water and explore the beauty of the underwater world in a new and fascinating way. 
“I wish I could explain in words the complete joy and wonder I found at Rainbow Springs.” Bonnie Staley Tarpon Springs, Fla.
“Never in my entire life have I seen such natural beauty.” Bo Russam Savannah, Georgia
“Ponce de Leon’s rainbow should have ended here—nothing to equal it anywhere in America.” C. M. Bernhardt Washington, D. C.
“So enchanting we have been here several times-always want to come again.” Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Duke Atlanta, Georgia
“So impressed with the sight, had to make a second trip down here.” Artie Starkey Indianapolis, Ind.
“fisherman’s Heave! What I wouldn’t give for an hour with my rod!” albert E. Clark Jr. Detroit Michigan
“Have lived in Florida all my life and have yet to see anything prettier.” Mr. Thurman Doub Sarasota, Florida
“it’s the most Beautiful resort we have come across in our travels. Very inspiring and peaceful.” Mr. and Mrs. Walter T Kram Fr. Lauderdale, Florida
“Have traveled a lot but have never seen anything so beautiful. . .  Truly the handiwork of the Lord is wonderful.” Mrs. Flora Troxel Lafayette, Indiana
“of all the things we have seen in Florida, this is the grandest.  Wish we could stay forever.” Mr. and Mrs. James Dello Terre Haute, Indiana
“Your trip to Florida will not be complete if you miss seeing Rainbow Springs.” Mr. and Mrs. Roy H. Medley Charleston, W. Va.
“Boy! I’d like to catch one of those big bass!” Mr. Lincoln Stanton Stoneham, Mass.
“it is a delightful diversion something entirely different and most educational for young and old.” John F. Milton Farmingdale, Long Island
“It was something to see and remember!” Mr. and Mrs. Edw. Rudny Lombard, Illinois
“If you can afford a trip to Florida, you certainly can’t afford to miss Rainbow Springs-especially the River Cruise.” Miss Lola Sybil Cooper Washington, D. C. 
“The natural beauty is almost unbelievable.” Mrs. C. F. Smith Macon, Georgia
“A wonderful trip – well worth the money.” Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Reland Mansfield, Ohio
“Certainly a grand place; It’s really worth recommending to our friends.” Mr. and Mrs. Roy Durnil Indianapolis, Ind
Giant bass, prehistoric leopard gars, great lumbering turtles and more than 50 other species of marine life are seen in their native habitat through the plate glass port-holes of our submarine boats. 


Your money cheerfully refunded if you’re not more than pleased!
“wouldn’t have missed it for anything.” Mrs. W. W. Hill Birmingham, Alabama
“the most beautiful place we’ve ever seen, especially the underwater wonders.” Mr. and Mrs. Ohrun J. Potter Knoxville, Tenn.
“Finest show and sight in all Florida.” Mr. and Mrs. W. J. McFarland Columbiaville, Mich.
“This makes our 11th trip to Rainbow Springs.” Mr. and Mrs. John A. Day Largo, Fla. 
“We like to come back again and again.  It’s really too lovely for words.” Mr. and Mrs. Fred Mack Detroit Michigan. 
Adults 75 cents Including tax
Children 6-11 yrs. 40 cents including tax
Entitles you to – preview of underwater world from Submarine Boat at Dock
Rainbow Trail
Terrace View
Rainbow Falls
Wishing Tree
Bayou Trail
AND WE CREDIT- the full amount paid for admission when you buy your ticket for the Scenic Submarine Boat Trip or Rainbow River Cruise. 
Rainbow Springs U. S. 41- Dunnellon, Fla.


We think you’ll like Rainbow Springs Lodge. . .  
And here are some of the reasons!
Rainbow Springs Lodge and its attractive guest cottages are unspoiled Florida—contrasted with the more publicized “glamor” Florida.  Here, the emphasis is on natural beauty and charm – and few places in all America are so uniquely blessed in this respect. 
At Rainbow Springs Lodge—on a wooded knoll overlooking picturesque Rainbow River—you will discover the utmost in comfort, appealing surroundings, congenial fellow guests and food that is deserving of nothing but superlatives!. . . Too, Rainbow Springs, because of its location, is an admirable “base of operations”—most of Florida’s attraction are within a few hours’ easy drive. 
In brief, this is a place to spend happy vacation days – whether you are able to relax and thoroughly enjoy life for long weeks, or just for a matter of days. 
Rainbow Springs Lodge on U.S. 41 4 miles north of Dunnellon, Fla. Phone 134J


Restful nights assured – under moss-draped oaks and towering magnolias
Native Stone Cottages
The rooms in these attractive cottages have twin innerspring studio couches, built-in dressing tables, ample closet and drawer space, modern tile baths.  Each cottage has its own private screened porch. Comfortable chairs and chaises encourage relaxation. 
Rates for 2 people per night
($2.00 for each additional occupant)
8 rooms apr-may and Oct-Dec $9.00 June-Sept $10.00 Jan-Mar $12.00
Rustic Cottages
Rooms in our rustic log and woodside cottages have pleasing wood paneled interiors. They are comfortably furnished with cypress beds, innerspring mattresses and rest-inviting chairs. Each cottage has private shower bath. Those with two double beds are ideal for families with children. 
Rates for 2 people per night ($1.00 for each additional occupant)
Room Apr-May and Oct-Dec Jan-mar and June—Sept
4 rooms with Double Bed $6.00 $7.00
4 rooms with Double Bed 7.00 8.00
4 rooms with Two Beds 7.00 8.00
4 rooms with Two Beds 8.00 9.00
10% reduction. . . . 
Yes, a reduction of 10% from the above prices is made on stays of one week or more. 
Deposit: we respectfully request a deposit of one night’s lodging with your reservation. . . Please Note: several of the cottages have connecting units—readily converted into a complete, commodious apartment for family occupancy.  We have one unit that will provide three rooms, with two porches and two baths. 
The New Lodge. . . A distinctive, commodious lounge and meeting place for resort guests—with a view form the terrace overlooking the river that causes many a visitor to exclaim: “Here’s where I want to stay and just rest for hours!” the new Lodge is of native stone and cypress construction, with large picture windows and a huge, cheery stone fireplace.  Furnishings stress comfort and attractiveness. 
Like Fishing?
Rainbow River, and its companion stream, the Withlacoochee, offere some of the best fishing to be found anywhere in the United States.  How of world’s record size largemouth bass—beauties run up to 15 and 20 lbs!—bream, shell-crackers and many other popular species.  Boots, motors, bait and guides may be arranged for at the Lodge at reasonable rates.
Like to Swim?
Our crystal-clear water stays at a grand year ‘round temperature of 74 degrees! Sun deck, rafts, sloping beach add to your enjoyment and safety. 
Camera Enthusiast?
Rainbow River is the Mecca of camera fans from all sections of the world. Roam along our wooded bayou trails, shoot underwater scenes from the Scenic Sub-Boats—nowhere will you discover more thrilling picture possibilities!
And a Games Area! Yes, shuffleboard courts—lighted for evening play—are a popular feature at this resort.  Horse shoes, ping-pong, ,croquet, too, have their devotees.


World’s most unusual Boat Trip
From every state and many foreign countries folks travel to Rainbow Springs to enjoy the thrilling experience of the trip down Rainbow River in our famous Scenic Submarine Boats. 
This two-mile trip is entirely different from the glass-bottom boat trips given in so many places.  Seated in perfect comfort below the water’s surface, seeing everything through plate glass portholes, you become a part of the amazing underwater wonderland. 
You’ll see giant large-mouth bass weighing 15 to 20 lbs. burst into furious action in pursuit of a tempting golden shiner, schools of ghostly blue shad, mammoth leopard gars and more than 35 other varieties of fish and turtles—see how they live and act in their native habitat. 
You’ll be enchanted with the lovely submarine gardens—great beds of foxtail ferns, water shamrock, rose fern, delicate mermaid’s hair and many other species of tropical marine plant life—all tinged with millions of tiny rainbows—an experience you will cherish forever in your book of memories. 
When you stay at Rainbow Springs Lodge, you are readily accessible to the waterfront and its unusual attractions, but because of the rolling nature of the terrain, you could be miles away—as far as peace and serenity are concerned. 
Proud of a reputation for Fine Food
Rainbow Springs has for years been a favorite “dining spot.” This is true today, more than ever, with the completion of our new air-conditioned restaurant right on the banks of the Rainbow River.  A magnificent setting adds immeasurably to the joy of good food, well prepared and competently served. 
Among our specialties, you’ll discover “Chicken a La Rainbow,” Florida Lime Pie, Rainbow Springs Hotcakes, Country Fried Steak and many other tempting dishes.  Old favorites such as Southern Fried Chicken, Jumbo Fried Shrimp and Georgia Pecan Pie are always available. 
Prices are an added inducement.  Club breakfasts range from 50 cents to a dollar; luncheons from a dollar to $1,50; dinners from $1.75 to $2.50. 
Rainbow Springs Lodge
Tom Barrett, Manager


The Keyes Company
234 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami 32, Florida
Telephone 82-3592
Cable Address “KEYESCO”
Kenneth S. Keyes
Chairman of the Board
April 27, 1954
Mr. S. V. McKinney
Cedar Key, Florida
Dear Mr. McKinney:
Here is the analysis showing the actual figures on the Lodge operation for our fiscal years ending September 30, 1951, and September 30, 1952, together with our estimates for the year ending June 30, 1954. 
You will note that we estimated $35,500. In room revenue for this year.  This may seem like a very substantial boost over the $25,402. That we had in the year ending September 30,1952; but the footnote at the bottom of the study shows that we added eight more rooms in November and December of 1952 and these resulted in increases of 145% and 107% during those two months and we thought it was very reasonable to estimate a 40% increase in room income for the coming year. 
I believe you will also agree that this estimate will be realized when I tell you that our room income for the calendar year 1953 was $30,652. And you will recall that we were operating with a lodge building and with very inadequate dining facilities during the greater part of the first six months of the year. 
You can see from the final estimates that if the operating expenses are kept under control, the operation should show a net profit of close to $6,000. Per year after paying the percentage rental stipulated in the lease.  In other words, that would be the amount of profit that I figured Tom Barrett should take out of the operation of lessee-manager. 
You will note also that I anticipated that the Lodge would be operated with a housekeeper at the salary of $150. Per month plus maintenance; a room clerk at $150. Per month plus maintenance; a houseman at $40. Per week; one full-time maid at $23. Per week and one maid for 8 months of the year at $23. Per week. 
This of course, is a rather far cry from the expensive set-up that Tom was trying to operate under during the fall and early winter months.
With the promotion that is being given to Rainbow Springs, I think it very reasonable to believe that the volume of Lodge business can be


The keyes company Realtors-2-
Built up within the next two or three years to $45,000. To $50,000. Per year and, of course, this added volume would not necessitate any large increase in the staff and would, therefore, be extremely profitable. 
Cordially, Ken Keyes
Kenneth S. Keyes
C-Mrs. Collier


August 4, 1953
Lodge operation
Analysis of operation’s profit Based on Proposed Lease
      Actual fiscal Year ending Estimated Year Ending
      9/30/51 9/30/52 6/30/54
Room Sales $26,363 $25,402 (1) $35,500
Operating Expenses
Salaries & Employees’ Meals 6,728 6,469 (2) 8,940
Payroll Taxes 128 130 160
Laundry 2,086 1,886 2,660
Electric Light & Power 2,325 1,600 2,000
Gas 679 521 600
Auto Expense 1,041 950 600
Landscaping 578 738 150
Telephone & Telegraph --- --- 210
Supplies 773 493 500
Repairs & Replacements 492 1,115 1,200
Advertising --- 197 750
Liability Insurance 100 100 200
Miscellaneous 111 62 100
Total Expenses 15,041 14,261 18,070
Operating Profit 11,322 11,141 17,430
Taxes & Insurance 2,097 2,148
Percentage Rental --- --- 11,425
Net Profit 9,225 8,993 6,005
(1) November and December 1952 room Sales after 4 woodside cottages were added showed increases of 145% and 107% above the same 2 months in 1951.  July 1953 was 34% ahead of July 1952.  With the new lodge and restaurant in operation a 40% increase for the coming year seems a reasonable expectation. 
(2) Payroll (not including Lessee Manager)
Housekeeper $150. Mo. Plus maintenance
Room Clerk 150. Mo. Plus maintenance
Houseman 40. Wk
1 maid @ 23.wk 12 mo. 
1 maid @ 23. Wk 8 mo. 


Suggestions from Guests
1. A settea by the falls, not just a chair. 
2. We could not hear our guide plainly.  He talked too fast. 
3. Cost to high. 
4. Motor on boat to loud. 
5. Advertising somewhat misleading. 
6. A few more benches along route would be good. 
7. Place menus in boat with prices. 
8. If you must have music why not use carefully chosen recordings. 
9. Make trails around to other side river. 
10. Have television in lodge
11. Keep public rest room cleaner. 
12. Food at restaurant poor. 
13. Boat not very courteous.
14. The swimming area is too confining and no underwater goggles is available
15. Life guard should be on duty. 
16. Turn falls on earlier in the morning
17. Have parking space closer to springs. 
18. You might improve on the spellingof some of your present labels.
19. To commercial
20. Should be some place for people to drive the cars for picnic. 
21. Move raft out further
22. A golf course would made this a paradise
23. The commercial looking boats are a false note.  Couldn’t they be made more attractive, and in keeping with the surroundings
24. Brightly colored rainbow at entrance to Lodge is out of keeping with rustic atmosphere.  To large and bold
25. Advertise more
26. Install old fashioned water wheel in out flow from falls. 
27. Canoes to high
28. Have a childrens playground.


Questionnaire replies- January1, 1954 . . . . To April 1, 1954. 
1- Like us to open more trails Yes 78 No 21
2- Like verses 116 17
3- Label trees 110 16
4- Enjoy chimes 79 15
5- Came primarily for 
Boat trip 111
For food 40
Swimming 16
Fishing 6
  7-came because
Here before 20
Heard about it 60
Signs 56
Folders picked up:
Not mentioned where, 16
Motor court 18
Tourist attraction 13
Tampa Fair 3
Saw in Newspaper 7
Saw in AAA 27
Heard on Radio 6
Favorable 186
Unfavorable 19
Signed 185
Quote 170
Recommended by
Hotel Red Book 2
Bumper Strip 1
Tampa Fair 3
Gov. Pamphlet 1
Total Questionnaires 205
Compiled by Jenny West
Typed by J.W.


State Archives of Florida: Collection N2009-10, Box 01, Folder 1


Rainbow Springs, "Florida's most rapidly growing attraction," sale presentation package, 1954




Keyes Company Realtors.




Modern Florida (1950-1990)

General Note

This collection consists of a presentation package describing the operations and physical and financial condition of Rainbow Springs as of March 1954. The package includes historical background information, a description of the facilities, past and projected income from the facilities, promotional brochures, and photographs. It was compiled by Kenneth S. Keyes, Chairman of The Keyes Company Realtors, and addressed to S.V. McKinney, a Cedar Key banker, as part of an effort to find a buyer for the business. Rainbow Springs State Park had its origins as a 1930s tourist attraction which over time featured a lodge and cottages, gift shop, and "submarine boats" allowing passengers an underwater view of the springs through portholes in the side. Rainbow Springs was never as successful as its competitors Silver Springs, Weeki Wachee, and Homosassa Springs, but in 1967, new owner Walter Beinke aimed to make it into a major attraction. Soon after, Rainbow Springs boasted a new aviary, animal shows, paddlewheel riverboat, monorail, and other new features. With the development of Disney World and other Orlando area attractions, Rainbow springs attracted fewer customers and finally closed in 1973. Local citizens fought efforts to develop the area until the State of Florida bought the park in 1990. By 1992, with the assistance of local citizen volunteers, Rainbow Springs State Park reopened on weekends and, in 1995, was once again open daily.